A jury has retired to consider verdicts on a mother and her partner accused of murdering her nine-year-old son, who is alleged to have been beaten and held down in a bath.
Carla Scott and Dirk Howell have both told jurors at Coventry Crown Court that Alfie Steele was not “dunked” in a bath at his home in Droitwich, Worcestershire, as a punishment prior to his death in February 2021.
Prosecutors allege Alfie was repeatedly assaulted, beaten and put in a cold bath as part of a cruel and “sinister” regime of correction by Scott and Howell.
Opening the case last month, prosecutor Michelle Heeley KC claimed both defendants thought it was acceptable to hit Alfie with “belts, or a slider, like a heavy-duty flip flop, and use other more sinister forms of punishment”.
She added that Alfie had 50 injuries all over his body, with only a handful likely to be due to normal childhood bumps and scrapes.
Scott, 35, told her trial she had not “belted” Alfie, while Howell, 41, said he did not beat the schoolboy or attempt to stage a cover-up, instead claiming to have attempted CPR to revive his alleged victim.
Howell, of Princip Street, Birmingham, denies murder, manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of Alfie.
Scott, of Vashon Drive, Droitwich, also denies murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of Alfie and child cruelty offences.
Prior to sending the jury out on Friday morning, Mr Justice Wall said: “There is no time pressure on you as to how long you should take to reach verdicts.
“This is a serious case and you will want to give it the time you think it needs.
“Don’t worry about the clock – worry about talking it through and reaching the right verdicts based on the evidence you accept.”
The jury did not reach any verdicts during about three hours of deliberations and will resume discussions on Monday.